18 August, 2012

Day 43, 110km: Teotihuacan Pyramids

Erwan managed to extend his weekend and have Thursday and Friday off. Having spent three days in Mexico City, we planned to visit nearby places.

First destination, the pyramids of Teotihuacan! We left in the afternoon as tourists (in fact any vehicle with license plates from outside Mexico Distrito Federal) are forbidden to drive before 11am. Too bad we couldn't wake up at 5am.

Mexico suburbs, "little boxes on the hillside"? Well, another kind.
 That was an hour drive that we did two-up on the bike, on a mostly sunny day. Erwan borrowed some gear to friend of his and hoped on the bike. "No fear"

Looking cool
 Teotihuacan, "birthplace of the gods" is a mysterious place whose origin and history is still being debated. What is known is that the city's population peaked in 450AD with an estimated 150,000 people.
It is striking that little remains of the city's foundation. Even the people who founded it aren't known. Quite sad really, if I'm building a 71m high pyramid I'd rather have people remember my name one way or another.

I thought I cropped it ... sorry!
 The city used to appear like it's pictured above. What remains now is two avenues, two pyramids and scattered ruins in varying conditions. Two or three buildings only are still having their roofs.

Imagine the place 1500 years ago, filled with activity
So it's kind of hard to imagine how the place was, to be honest. What visitors are being told is that the buildings that remain used to house the elite of the city, ruling families, priests and the ruler of the city.

On top of the pyramid of the Sun, the pyramid of the moon in the distance
 Again there weren't much signs of explanations to learn more about the place in there. Neither were guides chasing tourists. Wandering along the "Avenue of the Dead" therefore felt a bit surreal. There weren't many tourists, the wind blew strongly and the sun was alternating between fierce heat and a cool shady breeze. As if the temple of the Sun wanted to show what it was capable of.
It took a strong effort to imagine the place as it would have been at its height, filled with merchants, dignitaries and their cohort of servants. A few ruins here and there provided material to assist on the process.

Avenue of the Dead as seen from the Pyramid of the Sun
 What was much easier was thinking that we were some sort of Indiana Jones discovering the site and trying our best to understand what was the purpose of this city. Except perhaps that there were no nazis nor cannibals chasing us but rather a few vendors trying their best to sell us obsidian souvenirs and other merchandise.

A quiet day in Teotihuacan, perfect for daydreaming
Eventually the temple of the sun gave up and clouds started massing above our heads. We headed back to my brother's apartment and had dinner in the neighborhood.

That was a nice day out of the city!


  1. Comment about the moustache: serious, it looks like a fake one... Is it a fake one ??!!

    1. Sadly it isn't fake but simply ridiculous looking!